Bush broadens sanctions on Zimbabwe

July 26th, 2008 - 3:52 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 26 (DPA) US President George W. Bush Friday widened sanctions against Zimbabwean officials for using violence and intimidation to manipulate elections in the troubled country. The sanctions freeze the assets in the US of senior Zimbabwean officials designated by the US government as supporters of the violence by President Robert Mugabe’s regime against the opposition ahead of the June 27 presidential election.

“Today I have signed a new executive order that expands our sanctions against the illegitimate government of Zimbabwe,” Bush said in a statement.

“This action is a direct result of the Mugabe regime’s continued politically-motivated violence,” Bush said.

The move also prohibits Americans from engaging in business with Zimbabwean officials or their families or representatives.

Mugabe easily prevailed in the June presidential runoff, but only after opponent Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from the race, citing fear for his safety.

Zimbabwean security forces assaulted supporters of Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the weeks ahead of the election, arresting numerous party officials and beating people who attended their rallies.

Tsvangirai won more votes in the first election in March, but not enough for an outright victory in the balloting that international observers charged was riddled with flaws.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice along with her European counterparts called Mugabe’s eventual victory a “sham”.

The US and the European Union have had a travel ban on Mugabe for years.

Bush also said he would allocated an additional $2.5 million in assistance for international organisations helping Zimbabweans who have fled to neighbouring countries to escape the violence.

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